Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Fish Too Many


How do we get ourselves into these things? Okay, never mind that. How do we get ourselves OUT?

To a large degree, we’re redfish rookies, Bill and I, but enthusiastic ones. So when we saw two of the state’s best puppy drum guides scoot by us, five minutes apart, out on the vast network of salt flats and creeks that we'd decided to explore for the day, we congratulated ourselves on our ability to sniff out prime fishing habitat. But while we were busy stretching our casting arms by patting ourselves on the back, we should have been considering the fact that Lee and Seth, both, were headed in the other direction.

And so was the tide.

Now, despite all evidence to the contrary, we’re not completely clueless. We knew it was dropping. But we also felt comfortable that the main channels through these particular flats would hold up for a few more casts before things bottomed out and that Bill’s nineteen-foot Carolina Skiff would see us through some pretty skinny spots. We were right. Almost.

It's all this guy's fault

After what turned out to be one fish too many, we stowed the rods and successfully squeezed out of the creeks only to find that their northern egress into the intercoastal was shallower than the creek channels themselves. Our exit was blocked. We turned to try to run the flats and escape via the southern route, but by then it was too late.

Navigable water turned skinny, turned ankle deep, turned to wet sand and as the sea slipped away we found a soft run and let the boat settle. Casting decks became picnic plots, then napping platforms. We waded a while, casting casually at what little water was left and watched the mullet skip through the puddles while pipers overran the place. Afternoon faded to evening. Evening slipped towards night. The tides simply turned, slowly, with the rising moon.

But turn, they did, and in time we were gently lifted and pushed along from whence we came, back into the shallow bay. We headed home a bit later than planned.

Frustrating? Yes, but beautiful. The flats are a special place when the sun sets. And without a fish too many, we might have missed it.





Beautiful, but next time we're following the guides.

15 comments:

Steve Zakur said...

Now that, is a most wonderful adventure.

e.m.b. said...

"Frustrating? Yes, but beautiful..."
Amen.

Mike Sepelak said...

It was indeed, Steve. And somehow such adventures always seem to find me.

You're right, Erin, and Alleluia.

Seth said...

Very beautiful. Fantastic pix!!!

Alex said...

I'd be lying if I said that's never happened to me...even in a kayak haha. Love that first picture

Mike Sepelak said...

Definitely a lovely view that we had, Seth. Thanks.

Glad we're not alone in this, Alex. But a kayak???

Chris Hunt said...

Blame it on redfish... they make you do some silly things, huh?

Mike Sepelak said...

They sure do, Chris. They're as bewitching as women. Wait. Did I say that out loud?

Rainbow Chaser said...

Hey, Mike, sure does an ol' Geezer good to see some beautiful pictures and read about adventures to dream some about. Good work!

Mike Sepelak said...

THANKS, Mel! More like misadventures, but then that's what keeps this ol' geezer going.

M.A. Hughes said...

Good to know I'm not the only one that learns the hard way. Bet you won't do that (more than 4 or 5 more times) again.

Mike Sepelak said...

You got that right, M. No more than 6, for sure.

Dub The Thorax said...

nice post

Mike Sepelak said...

Thanks Mike!

Mary M. Bryant said...

I love the last snapshot. It creates a vivid expression of open freedom when one interacts with nature. So any good fish to recommend catching in hopes for some smoked fillet?